09 August 2013


It's rare for me to quit a book.  My dear husband notes this with a certain amount of awe and puzzlement.  I will hate and gripe my way through a book for weeks (or put it down for a year, only to pick it up again) out of a compulsion to finish.  Maybe it's guilt. Maybe it's that I want to give the author the benefit of the doubt.

But recently, I've become less patient.  I've become.... a quitter.

You may already know I own too many books.  Too many?  How is that possible?  

Because they are threatening to crush us.
This doesn't even account for all the books in the house.

I need to read my way down.

So I am hereby announcing that I have renounced two books: S. Shoenbaum's Shakespeare: His Life, His Language, His Theater, and Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent.

Liked this
I ADORED Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.  And although I haven't reviewed it here, I liked The Mother Tongue quite a lot.  But The Lost Continent was snarkier than (even) I could stand.  I'd read about 30
Hated this -
even (especially?)
the coffee stain graphic
pages of insulting prose about Midwesterners (yeah, they are eternally lampoonable, but still, enough is enough), and hadn't found the redeeming qualities in this book yet.  So I looked it up on GoodReads where I found MANY 1-star reviews, mainly because Bryson has this unrelenting Baby-Boomer superiority "thing" going on... and on.... and on.  And let's face it, the book was published in 1989.  America has either gotten better since then, or, more likely, it's gotten crappier and I just don't want to think about that.  Garrison Keillor has spent a lifetime examining all the crazy peccadillos of Midwesterners, but he doesn't hate on them.  I think Bill Bryson does.  You overdid it, Bill.  Too depressing and mean.  QUIT!  Book is in the give-away pile.

Disappointing for a
"Signet Classic"
Shakespeare: His Life, His Language, His Theater.  William, how I love thee.  But I've read a lot Shakespeare, I've read a lot ABOUT Shakespeare, and I recently watched Michael Wood's excellent BBC documentary of In Search of Shakespeare.  I know that he created oodles of words and phrases that we use every day.  I know there's debate as to whether Shakespeare's writing is really his (I'm in the camp that believes, YES, it's his.  This argument that no one with as "little" education as he had could possibly have written so elequently is baloney.  That would assume that everyone with an degree is naturally a terrific writer, when that couldn't be further from the truth, whereas I know people without that doggone piece of paper who are wonderful writers: JLW, that's you, deah).  I thought I would be entranced, but really, I just don't CARE about knowing more about Shakespeare the man.  I want to enjoy the literature he produced (maybe Portland's Shakespeare in the Park won't be rained out tonight!)  So, it's not sayonara to Shakespeare, but to this boring, repetitive book ABOUT Shakespeare.  QUIT!  Into the give-away pile!

You know, it is feeling really good to just "cut and run" rather than slog on.  Cleansing.  And by that I mean genuinely enabling me to clean more easily (the dust bunnies that accumulate behind the Stack are scary).

New idea: I launched this blog in 2011 with the project of reading 80 books I had (somewhat arbitrarily) selected.  Now Hear This: I reserve the right to QUIT any of these books after 100 pages.

In my own universe, I get to make my own rules! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!


  1. You go, girl. Jonathan Franzen's "Corrections" was the book that put me over the top. After finishing that book, I said never will I torture myself with a book I hate. They're few and far between, but they are out there. The last book that I put down was "Cutting for Stone." Ugh.

  2. I didn't like "Cutting for Stone" either. It seemed like a tremendous, complicated set-up with too many red herrings (and too many unlikable characters), and the ending was sort of a letdown... not worth the trouble of getting there. I read it for a book group that was trying to form, but then the group never did coalesce. Rats!

    I have a couple of Franzens at home that I've picked up because I feel like I "should" read him.... I shall proceed with caution.

  3. I don't think I have ever quit reading a book partway through, even if the writing SUCKS I still need to know how it ends! LOL I have read really badly written books though and thought "I can do better than that" and that's what started me writing myself. Guess what, I can do better than that!